MFF 2014-2020 Pie Chart

Euroscience: EU MUST invest in growth and jobs and cut unfair agricultural subsidies

The European Council, the European Parliament, the Council of Ministers, the European Commission, have all gone out of their way to stress that Europe can only find the path to recovery if it keeps investing in education, research and innovation.

MFF 2014-2020 Pie Chart

Some EU countries do, most don’t. And for the EU it once more threatens to be a matter of pure lip service now that the daggers are drawn for the final negotiations on the Multiannual Financial Framework (MFF). The Innovation Union is one of the Flagship projects of the current EU policies. But, in reality, the EU keeps spending 40% of its budget on subsidising agriculture, distorting worldwide agricultural markets and treating European countries and regions grossly unfairly. The French President has the loudest voice when it comes to the Growth Pact, but he opposes most fiercely serious reductions in these subsidies for a sector where the job growth will not come from.

Euroscience endorses the appeal of European Nobel and Field medal laureates who warn about the disastrous implications of cuts in European budgets for research and innovation.

© Libelium Comunicaciones Distribuidas S.L

Now that the Cypriot EU Presidency has put the first figures on the table, Euroscience calls on Europe’s political leaders to put their money where their mouth is.

They should increase the 80 billion € budget proposed by the European Commission for Horizon 2020 with 5 billion € to 85 billion € and decrease the budget for the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) with at least this amount.

More cuts in the CAP budget will be needed because the European leaders seem to be keen to demonstrate that they are being tough by cutting the EU budget. That is in effect what President van Rompuy is proposing on the 13th of November. It includes additional reductions of the CAP and slightly more of Cohesion Policies. But the decrease of the Horizon 2020 budget will, if anything, be even somewhat higher. It is one more evasion of the responsibility to lead the EU into new directions. Horizon 2020 holds many promises with its greater focus, but they will not be realised when the budget is not commensurate with the ambitions.

The Cypriot proposal is not a good starting point. One has to distil budget figures for Horizon 2020 from the proposal but the most optimistic estimate is approximately 76 billion €, a full 5% reduction from the Commission’s proposal. The budget for the CAP, in contrast, is reduced by just 1% and that for Cohesion Policies by 2%. That is not a policy for knowledge-based growth and jobs. It is not the basis for excellence, or for industrial leadership or tackling society’s major challenges. President van Rompuy does not really redress this.

European leaders should back their own declared ambition for a knowledge-based research and innovation-led economy and move in the opposite direction with budgets for Research and Innovation going up and budgets for the CAP going down.

Lauritz Holm-Nielsen, president
Peter Tindemans, secretary-general

Strasbourg 14 November 2012

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